Richard and Weez Excellent Adventure - England...
Thursday 9th April - 11.30pm
Today it rained............... and it rained............... and it
rained............... and it rained............... and it flooded. Since we
postponed Louises interview with Robert Walters yesterday we were going to do a bit of
tripping around. However after closer inspection of the bus timetables it became
apparent that we had rissen to late to catch buses to where we wanted to go and give us
enough time to look around and get back at a reasonable hour. So we stayed at home,
read the papers, drank tea! watched the rain fall outside and the water rise in the
garden. Louise planned routes and bus / train timetables for future days.
At 6.30 we all got tired of being indoors so Norma decided to take us into Coventry to the 'Computer City' store. On the way we had to cross one flood on the main road. This store was huge. Not your PC Direct kind of store in Auckland - this was four times the size with ten times the products ranging from top of the line products from Compaq, Toshiba, Hewlett Packard, Quantum..... down to the cheaper products and local products. As my eyes glazed over Norma and Louise decided to leave me and go to the shop next door to have a look around and buy some vacuum cleaner bags. Probably half an hour later they came back and dragged me away! I looked at some 35mm negative scanners, but at £450 I think I'm going to have to work for a bit first. I also looked for a SCSI II card to go in the PCMCIA slot on my laptop so I can add an extra hard drive and any other SCSI devices. They did have one (not in stock) for £199 or I could have bought a Discman / CD ROM with a PC SCSI card for £250. While my laptop has a USB port, peripherals that use this bus still seem few and far between (although I did see one scanner that connected to it). I'm hoping that the USB port isn't going to be dead in the water and superceded by the Firewire port before it even gets off the ground. Have to wait and see. If anyone knows where to get a PCMCIA SCSI II card in New Zealand please e-mail me - it may be cheaper to buy it there and send it here.
On the way home, it was still raining. Norma decided not to go back the way we came just in case the flood we crossed on the way had got deeper (turns out it had) so we took an alternative route.......which also turned out to be flooded at a bridge with a cars roof just poking out of the top! We eventually got home after crossing several smaller floods much to everyones releif.
I was let loose on the roads here for the first time tonight. Tony had to drop the van back to the rental after taking all his plants down to London for a show. We took his car because it was a diesal and it would cross the floods better than a petrol engine. All the controls were on the wrong side - so when I indicated I got the wipers and when I wanted the wipers I indicated! Sussed now.
I guess in a way it was lucky that Louise postboned her interview till next Thursday. We probably would have got soaked and may have had difficulty getting back on the train because even some of them had troubles with the water.
Thursday 9th April - 11.30pm
It's rained on and off today. There's a cold wind so it's helping everything dry off a bit. We slept 11 hours again. This is very unusual for me sleeping more than 8 hours. I thought I was getting over the jet lag. Completely normal for Weez though! It got really cold in the night so we hopped into our MacPac sleeping bags to see how they faired. Toasty and warm was the result. Top stuff.
Alison and Pauls house was flooded yesterday. It seems like it only came up a couple of inches but it's ruined the carpet and destroyed the video. So their easter weekend is going to be spent cleaning up. I walked into Willoughby village this afternoon but I couldn't pass the duck pond as it had flooded across the road to the houses. Today is the first day in my life where I have ever been glad of owning polyprops. I hate wearing the things - but you need them today. The inside boiler went out last night (ergo no central heating). Tony suspects the water has come down the chimney and wet everything. So we are keeping the lounge fire well stoked to try and warm the house. Tony will have a look when he gets back from the flower show. Not much more to report. I might go and munch on a Wagon Wheel which I finally found in the supermarket last night.
Good Friday 10th April
It was cold today..........
Saturday 11th April
Easter Sunday 12th April
And today.......... and it tried to snow.........
Monday 13th April
And again it was cold..... very cold.... Paul and Alison dropped us off in Coventry this afternoon while they looked for new furniture prices for the insurance asessor. We spent most of the time in the new Coventry cathedral and the old cathedral that was bombed during World War II. It's amazing that the spire and outer walls came away relatively undamaged, while the rest of the church was nothing but rubble. We climbed the spire and took in the view of Coventry (rows and rows of 'Coronation Street' Houses) - we didn't stay long because it was biting cold up there. The new cathedral is huge and awe inspiring. At the head of the cathedral is the largest tapestry I have ever seen. It must have taken years to complete. It is open all day for people to visit or worship as they please.
We spent the final hour just looking round the few shops that were open today before Paul and Alison picked us up again and took us home. We took in another 'Montana Sunday Theatre' type drama in the evening (something which there seems to be quite a bit of on TV here) and hit the sack.
Tuesday 14th April - 10.45pm
I pushed Louise out of bed at 6.15am. She dragged me out very reluctantly twenty minutes later after she had showered. Early mornings aren't my scene and I felt like Grouchy Oscar! A shower brightened my mood and at 7.15 we set off into Willoughby village to catch the 7.33 bus to Rugby. Now, the bus was to be on the main road according to the timetable........ Is that the 'Main Street' of Willoughby or is that the main highway that runs outside of Willoughby? Either way, we never saw the bus, or found the bus stop. So in nose numbing cold we trudged back home and waited for the 9.20 bus scheduled to be outside the Rose pub (that is if today was a school holiday..........we thought it was).
9.20 found us outside the pub waiting....... as the bus rounded the corner on the opposite side of the road! We quickly ran to the other side and it stopped for us so we must have been in roughly the right place. Finally, another bus system sussed. It took us right to the train station in Rugby where we bought return tickets to Coventry for £3.50. We have discovered that if the timetable says the train will leave at 10.20, it will arrive 1 minute before 10.20 and will leave right on time. No room for Louise to be 'just doing something' here! It took 10 minutes to get to Coventry. The trains are smooth and fast. Much better than traveling by bus.
What did we do in Coventry? Visited the British car museum and shopped for girls clothes - yee ha (not!) The car museum was vaguely interesting but with one amazing discovery for me......... The De Lorean car as seen in Back To The Future I, II and III......... American right?........Wrong! The De Lorean was manufactured in Belfast, Northern Ireland. It was designed to look like and perform like a $50,000 car with a $25,000 price tag. It's body was all stainless steel. Most of the cars were sold to the US market. It seems however that the De Lorean company didn't do too well and went under at a huge loss to the British tax payers (£63,000,000 ?). Well, thats your useless piece of trivia for the day. The rest of the day was spent shopping for girlie things of which Louise bought a couple of things so her day was a success.
Back on the train to Rugby, where we did some grocery shoping so we could make burgers for tea (only we forgot the Burger buns!) so we had fish and chips! Very tired now so I'm off to bed.............
Thursday 16th April
I think we wen't to London today - I know it was my birthday but anyway - while I think about it, here is a picture of Ruby. Ruby is Paul and Alison's boxer. She is a beautiful.....when she is sleeping! You see, Ruby is extremely exciteable as she is still quite young. She is always so happy to see you and springs up and down like a pogo stick when she is excited. On top of that her feet are always muddy from being out in the greenhouses with Norma and Tony. So, when she comes to see you, she bounces up and down, puts her feet all over you and gets our clothes extremely dirty! We gave up wearing clean clothes each day because we knew somewhere along the we we were sure to get Rubied! Norma and Tony also have two boxers called Brae and Toosha? When I get photographs of them I will pop them in.
Friday 17th April - 8.54pm
We wen't to Rugby today to buy two mobile phones and open a cheque account.
We opened the cheque account in a record time of 1 hour, 10 minutes!! This was after making an appointment to do it on Wednesday - none of this walk in off the street and do it there and then like we would at home (I know, I know.....we're not at home). Come on England - get with it. If banks in New Zealand carried on like this they would fold. Because we opened the account in Rugby, and our savings account is at another branch then we had to be treated like new customers with new account numbers! Go figure! We couldn't have the same account number with a different suffix unless we did it at the bank where we opened our savings account (160km away). The lady who dealt with us said "we are one of the most advanced banks in England..........you may not think so but we are". We can't even get a credit card because we don't have a credit history in England (they did check our NZ credit rating so we could open the cheque account and our savings account is full of money but thats not good enough....). So, we have to deposit all our wages into the cheque account for the next three months so we get a credit history and then they'll consider it..... sigh.... I can see the problems New Zealanders have who don't even hold an account when they enter the country. I feel sorry for them.
Mobile phones..... since we don't have bank statements, credit cards or drivers licences (two of any required with British addresses attached to them) then we can't purchase mobile phones. BUT - we have a plan - a plan so cunning that you could pin a tail to it and call it a weasel! (Another Black Adder quote Harley!). We will conquer this one.
I did buy some black shoes today.....success. There are not many shops at home where I can walk in and get black shoes in my size (or any shoes for that matter).... size 12 - 13 wide fit. Had to get these just in case I have to go into a job that requires a suit :-( ....... and you all know what I think about 'suits'.
Caught a double decker bus home. The kind driver dropped us off right where we wanted - great service in the country. Louise has had about 20 calls today aranging work interviews etc. She now has an interview with LucasVarity (Blue chip company that designs, manufactures and supplies advanced technology systems, products and services in the world's automotive and aerospace industries) so things are looking good for her with starting pay set at a minimum of 20 pounds per hour! - we were blown away.
Well, the battery on the laptop is nearly flat so that's about it for now. More later.